When Erick addressed the NH Senate race and cited a laundry list of Kelly Ayotte’s failings on Tuesday, I was moved to do some further research of my own. On the Second Amendment,his anonymous source stated:
Kelly actively lobbied Governor Lynch to veto an expansion of the Castle Doctrine, allowing people to protect themselves in their homes. Ovide has been a member of the NRA since 1992 and has earned A ratings from them.
I well remember that veto and it was symptomatic of the liberal agenda Lynch has pursued over the past six years. I’ve not been able to extract a clear reply from the Ayotte campaign on the matter – which would tend to affirm the allegation.
But in looking over the Ayotte web site and speaking to her political director, I discovered the "F" rating Lamontagne received from the NH Firearms Coalition and the reason for it: HB 1528 (filed in 1994 at his behest), which would bar firearms from school property. While superficially innocuous, the wording, often vague, would have barred possession of firearms across most of the state. Although I attended the hearing on this terrible bill, I don’t remember the testimony – except, IIRC – no one testified FOR it. Some of the testimony from the hearing transcripts is reproduced here, first from various Directors of GO-NH:
Article 2-A [ of the NH Constitution – ed. ] states that all people have the right to keep and bear arms in defense of themselves, their family, their property and the state. I find this bill to be a flagrant, hideous attack on that constitutional [sic] right.
. . . this bill will apply the term "safe school zones" not only to school property but also to any site of any field trip however transient its use for school purposes [ including the highways upon which the buses run – ed.] <snip> this bill will apply to home schools <snip> the term "legitimate purpose" at most applies only to rifles and shotguns during hunting season.
This bill potentially affects every gun owner in the state.
Then several private citizens spoke out, noting the vague wording would likely trap many innocents in technical violations, essentially bar hunters and CCW holders from most areas and was directly contrary to the provisions of both State & Federal Constitutions.
Now, I’m a cynical person where politicians are involved. Lamontagne joined the NRA in 1992. In 1994, he testified in support of this broad attack on civil liberty – INTRODUCED ON HIS URGING IN HIS WORDS – by identifying himself as ". . . a member of the NRA and GO-NH. " The timing of his memberships was auspicious in providing a cloak of righteousness to legislation extremely hostile to civil liberties and is not unlike G. H. W. Bush joining the NRA just before running for the Presidency and resigning a few years later when his FBI stooges were criticized for murdering members of the Weaver family in the Ruby Ridge incident.
For those who predicate their support for a candidate on the RTL issues (not a criticism of them, but an observation), Lamontagne has impeccable credentials. For those whose focus is wider, he has a lot of negative baggage and was blown away in his last state-wide election in 1996 while the (R) candidates took both the House seats and the Senate.
Nothing in Ayotte’s record is as offensive to firearms owners as this episode. She is by no means an ideal candidate for conservatives (I can think of several I would prefer), but she’s to the right of lame duck Judd "Silk Stocking" Gregg and the weird sisters of Maine. As a firearms owner, as someone who views the 2nd Amd as the true cornerstone of our liberty, I just can’t bring myself to support the person who instigated HB 1528.